The Sleeping Lionesses Awake...

That's the way it feels to me lately. The issue of gender in librarianship, especially as it relates to those of us who work in youth librarianship, has been sleepily in the background for a long time.

A number of issues that have cropped up recently have brought the subject back to the forefront and women and men are standing up and saying, "Whoa! Wait! Stop!" "Let's back up here and get real again!". It feels as if powerful people who have long been sleeping are once again awakening and looking around - and want to claim -or reclaim -some power that has long been lost or trivialized.

Part of the discussion has been in the blogosophere; part on twitter and part on a librarian group on Facebook, Think Tank. What started in a somewhat rancorous way is building to something slightly different - an open and honest exploration of the roots of discourse on gender in librarianship. People are talking, exploring and sharing.

Kate Kosturski over at Librarian Kate blog has written two posts in the last few days tracing the scholarly research on gender and librarianship (here and here) and they are fascinating.  Her part 3 will be on youth librarianship as it relates to gender issues.  Please read the posts and consider sharing your experiences of gender bias in youth work with her at librariankate7578 at gmail dot com. I think we need to read more.

I can imagine the research is might thin on this topic. Other than recent blog posts , some of which I cited in my last post,  I have seldom read of youth librarianship and bias issues in my almost 40 years in the business. What there is probably was published in small presses and gathered in the marvelous Alternative Library Literature anthologies (edited by Jim Danky and Sandy Berman) of the '80s through early part of this century.

I, for one, am glad we're waking up to have this discussion.

Image: 'Open wide.....'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/66164549@N00/2884630721 Found on flickrcc.net

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